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The 2011 Colorado GOP Central Committee   November 13th, 2010
Ramifications of the governor's race on 2011 state party officer elections       


More observations...

Once the dust settled from the governor's race, one of the first things I noticed is the impact on the Colorado Republican Central Committee. As it stands, smaller counties will find themselves with more relative influence in the 2011 Central Committee, and state bonus members will have almost no influence.

The Colorado Republican Central Committee is the group of individuals that is responsible for electing the state chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary, is empowered to amend/modify the state party bylaws, and convenes periodically to do such things as approve the delegate allocations for the state assembly.

The Colorado Republican State Central Committee is made up of the following individuals:
  • The State Party Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary of the CRC (3 individuals)
  • The chairman, vice-chairman and secretary of each of the Republican county central committees (3 individuals per county x 64 counties = 192 individuals)
  • The elected Republican United States senators and representatives in Congress (4 individuals)
  • The elected Republican state officials including governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state state treasurer, attorney general, and members of the General Assembly, the state board of regents, and the state board of education (3 statewide offices, 33 members of state house, 15 members of state senate, 5 board of regents, and 4 board of education members = 60 individuals)
  • The Republican National Committeeman and National Committeewoman for Colorado (2 individuals)
  • Two additional ("bonus") members from each county that polled ten thousand votes at the last preceding general election for the Republican candidate for governor of Colorado or president of the United States, and two bonus members for each additional ten thousand votes or major portion thereof so polled in such county.
  • The elected Republican District Attorneys (14 individuals *)
  • The chairman of each congressional district central committee (7 individuals)

    * Note: There were 14 Republican District Attorney's before the election. I'm assuming there are still 14 Republican District Attorney's.

Based on the above, there will be a "base" 282 members of the State Central Committee.

Bonus Members

Each county's chairman, vice-chairman, and secretary are automatically members of the State Central Committee. In addition, each county that casts 10,000 or more votes for the Republican candidate for governor or president in the most recent election is entitled to bonus members. Bonus members have the same voting rights as all other members of the State Central Committee and are elected by the county party central committees.

This year, any county that cast 10,000 votes for the Republican nominee for governor gets two bonus members. Then, counties get an additional two bonus members for each additional 10,000 votes--or major portion thereof. That means that from 10,000-14,999 a county gets 2 bonus members. 15,000-24,999 a county gets 4 bonus members. 25,000-34,999 a county gets 6 bonus members, etc. This provides incentive for counties to get out the Republican vote and also gives counties proportionally more influence within the state party according to how many votes they carried for the Republican nominee.

In a normal election this means that larger counties receive significantly larger representation in the State Central Committee than smaller counties since they cast more votes for the Republican and, in turn, are entitled to more bonus members. As an example, in 2009 Douglas County received 16 bonus members since it turned in more than 75,000 votes for McCain in 2008; since Douglas County also has a chair, vice-chair, and secretary, Douglas County had a total of 19 votes on the State Central Committee. At the same time, Eagle County received no bonus members since it turned in fewer than 10,000 votes for McCain--so Eagle County's only representation on the State Central Committee was its county chair, vice-chair, and secretary for a total of 3 votes. Douglas County had just over six times as many votes on the State Central Committee as Eagle County.

2011 will be strange.

In 2010 Douglas County only polled 12,530 votes for the Republican Nominee while Eagle polled 2113 votes. As such, Eagle County still won't be entitled to any bonus members, but Douglas County will only be entitled to 2 bonus members (instead of the 16 it received in 2009).

So this time Douglas County will have 5 votes on the State Central Committee (the chair, vice-chair and secretary plus two bonus members) while Eagle will still have 3 votes. Instead of Douglas County having more than six times as many votes as Eagle, Douglas won't even have twice as many votes. Representation in the State Central Committee has been significantly flattened and smaller counties will be on much more equal footing with larger counties.

If everyone that voted for Tancredo had voted for Maes, then Douglas County would have turned in 67,591 votes which would be sufficient for 14 bonus members, and Douglas County would have had a total of 17 votes on the State Central Committee. However, due to Tancredo taking so much of the Republican vote, Douglas County will instead only get two bonus members for a total of five votes.

Likewise, Jefferson County would have otherwise received 20 bonus members. Instead, they'll receive 2. Adams County would have received 10 bonus members but, instead, they'll receive none.

This year, Adams County and Eagle County will have the same amount of influence in the State Central Committee even though Adams County has about six times as many Republicans.

The Result: Few Bonus Members, Small Central Committee

Had Tancredo voters voted for the Republican nominee, 12 counties would have been entitled to a total of 130 bonus members and the State Central Committee would consist of approximately 412 members. Instead, only five counties will be entitled to a total of just 14 bonus members and the State Central Committee will have only about 296 members.

Since only five counties turned in more than 10,000 votes for the Republican nominee, only those five counties will be entitled to bonus members:
    Arapahoe: 2 bonus members
    Douglas: 2 bonus members
    El Paso: 6 bonus members
    Jefferson: 2 bonus members
    Larimer: 2 bonus members

Here's a summary, by county, of the number of bonus members lost to Tancredo votes. Counties are only listed if they would normally have been entitled to some number of bonus members.


Consequences of Few Bonus Members

There are some mathematical consequences given the current vote tally and bonus member allocation.

The 14 bonus members will make up only about 4.7% of the votes in the Central Committee instead of the 31.6% of the vote that the normal 130 bonus members would otherwise control. So bonus members will only have about 1/6th the influence they usually do in the central committee.

The 192 county party officers statewide will make up 64.9% of the votes in the Central Committee instead of 46.6% of the votes. So county party officers will have about 39% more influence than usual.

The 90 elected officials, state party officers, RNC committeeman and woman, and Republican district attorneys will make up 30.4% of the vote instead of the 21.8% they normally would. So state/national party officers and elected officials will have about 39% more influence than usual.

In summary, the 2011 Central Committee will be made up as follows:
    64.9%: 192 County Party Officers (chairman, vice-chair, secretary of each county party)
    30.4%: 90 State/National Party and Elected Officials
    4.7%: 14 Bonus Members


One conclusion that can be drawn from the above is that county party officers combined with state and national party officers and elected officials will control 95.3% of the vote. Only about 4.7% of the vote will be controlled by bonus members.

Another conclusion is that, acting as a block, county party officers have more than enough votes to elect the state chair, vice-chair, and secretary that they choose.

Since the elected officials and state and national party officers have already been elected, the only members of the State Central Committee that can still be changed are the 14 bonus members and the 192 county party officers. Since 14 bonus members will not have a major impact on the election, county party officers are the only major voting block of the state central committee that can still be changed and which can significantly influence the outcome of the state party elections.

I would conclude that the county party officer elections in February may be decidedly contentious as county party elections become proxies for the subsequent state party officer elections.

This may be especially true in smaller counties. There are 52 smaller counties that turned in less than 10,000 combined votes for Maes/Tancredo. These 52 smaller counties will control 159 (53.7%) of the votes on the State Central Committee. Whoever has the most sway with the three officers in each of the 52 smaller counties in Colorado will be able to elect the next state party chair, vice-chair, and secretary.

In any case, unless the state party bylaws are quickly amended, your county party officers will essentially be casting your county's votes in the state party officer elections.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This article is based on tentative election vote counts and my understanding and interpretation of the Colorado Republican Party bylaws. The State Party is the final authority on how many bonus members each county will receive. However, I believe my calculations to be correct based on the numbers available to me and my reading of the bylaws. If you see any errors in this analysis, please let me know so I can make corrections.

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